TTC / IDEA Bush Walk Experience
3 September 2005
Intellectual Disabled Empowerment in Action Services (IDEA, a division of IHC) supports the vision of an “Ordinary Life” for people with intellectual disabilities - living much like anyone else, exercising choices, enjoying opportunities to develop and making decisions on everyday matters.” The kids we’re taking mainly come from backgrounds where they would never normally get the opportunity to experience an adventure like this.
On Saturday 3 September, an idea was brought into existence, to support IDEA services vision, after the culmination of 3 months of planning and sponsorship from Optimation. The idea revolved around the concept of taking 25 intellectually disabled children into Donnelly’s Flat via the loop track and back out to Holdsworth Lodge.
With the support team in place by 10am, the briefing commenced. The plan was to put the participants into six teams, each team having an experienced tramper as team leader and another tramper as the tail to ensure no strugglers were left behind. The four checkpoint controllers were assigned their designated locations and provided with hand held radios. A radio call from Peter Drew alerted us to the arrival of the bus. The team leaders quickly went to meet the bus, collected their team members and passed out the name badges. After pausing for group photos, the teams were led off to Holdsworth Lodge for their briefing. As the misty drizzle settled in, the participants were sent off on their walk. Each team’s departure was staggered and radio checks were made to confirm their progress. The remaining supporters prepared lunch.
The long awaited moment came, an hour after the first group left, for checkpoint 4 to radio in and say that the last team had passed the last checkpoint and they were heading back to the lodge, and that Johnny was concerned that the bus would leave without them. The power of the radios really became apparent, when I called back to say that the bus could not leave yet as we had lunch ready for them when they got back. The feedback was this really re-energised the team to make it back in time for lunch.
The drizzle cleared up, allowing lunch to be consumed outside. By 2pm everyone started toasting marshmallows over the fires that Syd had managed to get going for us, despite the weather.
At 3pm the participants boarded the bus tired, elated and ready to head home. 63 people in total participated in the day, consuming a total of 150 sausages, 63 potatoes, 63 cups of soup and 2kgs of marshmallows.
By 4pm the rest of the TTC support team was holed up in a café in Carterton, relaxing and enjoying the afterglow of a fantastic experience. We were all party to the transformation of these children into extraordinary human beings who had an absolute ball, and in the words of one teenage boy “an awesome day”.
My thanks goes to all those who participated in making this a memorable day for everyone.
- Peter McKenzie (Scribe and organizer), Jude Willis, Alan Wright, Graham McCready, Kerry Popplewell, Bruce Popplewell, Syd Moore, Diane Head, Diane Hill, Warwick Hill, Chris Pinfield, Sue Beauclerc, Rebecca Whiting, Jurgen Schutz, Sarina Efferberger, Lindsay Cameron, Alan & Olive McKenzie, Wendy and Derek Mattingley, Peter Drew.